Infant sleep patterns and parenting focus of study

May 14, 2009

Infants' sleep patterns and their parents' influence on it are the focus of the SIESTA II project, supported by a five-year, $2.67 million grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to Douglas M. Teti, professor of human development and psychology, Penn State.

SIESTA II -- Study of Infants' Emergent Sleep Trajectories, Phase II -- will study the role of parenting in the development of infant sleep patterns. Researchers will visit 150 homes in the Hershey, Harrisburg and State College areas to collect data and 25 percent of the homes will have minority families. Researchers will visit each home seven times in two years. Infrared cameras in participants' homes will document several aspects of bed time and night time rituals for infants including daily bed time routines, use of close contact, soothing vs. arousing behaviors, parental reactions to infant sleep disruptions, parental emotional availability and infant emotional reactions. Parents will also keep infant sleep diaries.

"Most literature on infant sleep patterns comes from pediatric journals, but tends to ignore perspectives from developmental science -- we hope to change that," says Teti. "There's probably not one universal formula that parents should use to promote sleep quality and well-being in infants. It's more likely that how parents feel about their children's sleep and how well they adapt emotionally plays just as large a role in the development of infant sleep as the parenting practices being used."

The researchers will test whether consistent bed time rituals promote self-regulated sleep habits in infants; whether support from a partner enhances a mother's ability to adapt to a temperamental infant; whether parents who do not adapt are less emotionally available to their infants and experience more stress, and whether parents' stress increases the number of infant sleep disruptions. They will also test the idea that cognitive functions in infants, such as the capacity for information processing, are sensitive to and influenced by sleep quality.

As part of the project, the grant will be used to fund several graduate students who will work as researchers at the University Park or Harrisburg campuses.

SIESTA I, which was funded by Penn State's Children, Youth and Families Consortium, was a pilot study and laid the groundwork that makes SIESTA II possible. Researchers established that infrared cameras would provide clear video and audio and accurately capture the emotional quality of infant and parental behaviors in the middle of the night. SIESTA I also gave the investigative team the opportunity to pilot a number of different measures and procedures currently being used in SIESTA II.

Co-investigators for SIESTA II include Pamela Cole, professor of psychology; Cindy Stifter, professor of human development and psychology; Mike Rovine, professor of human development, all from Penn State; Ian Paul, professor of pediatrics, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and Thomas Anders, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, University of California, Davis.
-end-


Penn State

Related Sleep Articles from Brightsurf:

Size and sleep: New research reveals why little things sleep longer
Using data from humans and other mammals, a team of scientists including researchers from the Santa Fe Institute has developed one of the first quantitative models that explains why sleep times across species and during development decrease as brains get bigger.

Wind turbine noise affects dream sleep and perceived sleep restoration
Wind turbine noise (WTN) influences people's perception of the restorative effects of sleep, and also has a small but significant effect on dream sleep, otherwise known as REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, a study at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows.

To sleep deeply: The brainstem neurons that regulate non-REM sleep
University of Tsukuba researchers identified neurons that promote non-REM sleep in the brainstem in mice.

Chronic opioid therapy can disrupt sleep, increase risk of sleep disorders
Patients and medical providers should be aware that chronic opioid use can interfere with sleep by reducing sleep efficiency and increasing the risk of sleep-disordered breathing, according to a position statement from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

'Short sleep' gene prevents memory deficits associated with sleep deprivation
The UCSF scientists who identified the two known human genes that promote 'natural short sleep' -- nightly sleep that lasts just four to six hours but leaves people feeling well-rested -- have now discovered a third, and it's also the first gene that's ever been shown to prevent the memory deficits that normally accompany sleep deprivation.

Short sleep duration and sleep variability blunt weight loss
High sleep variability and short sleep duration are associated with difficulties in losing weight and body fat.

Nurses have an increased risk of sleep disorders and sleep deprivation
According to preliminary results of a new study, there is a high prevalence of insufficient sleep and symptoms of common sleep disorders among medical center nurses.

Common sleep myths compromise good sleep and health
People often say they can get by on five or fewer hours of sleep, that snoring is harmless, and that having a drink helps you to fall asleep.

Sleep tight! Researchers identify the beneficial role of sleep
Why do animals sleep? Why do humans 'waste' a third of their lives sleeping?

Does extra sleep on the weekends repay your sleep debt? No, researchers say
Insufficient sleep and untreated sleep disorders put people at increased risk for metabolic problems, including obesity and diabetes.

Read More: Sleep News and Sleep Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.